Born on 30th of October 1839
Died on 29th of January 1899
The English painter Alfred Sisley is somewhat ironically acknowledged as one of the founders of French Impressionism. He devoted his life to painting vibrant landscapes of great beauty and atmosphere.
Alfred Sisley was born in Paris on October 30 1839, the son of affluent English parents, and was sent to London in 1857 to pursue a commercial career. Sisley, however, decided that his future lay as an artist and in 1862 entered the School of Fine Arts in Paris. Though originally influenced by the art of Corot and Courbet, Impressionism soon attracted him, and he along with Monet and Renoir took to painting in the open air, the speed of their brushwork hastened to capture light in its elusive transience and its effect on the physical world.
At the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874 Sisley exhibited six landscapes but they were too radical for their time and were not well received. After the exhibition Sisley returned to England and painted more impressionist landscapes of Hampton Court and Molesey on the Thames. Sisley now saw himself as part of the Impressionist group, exhibiting with them in 1876, 1877 and 1882. In the 1870s he produced a remarkable series of landscapes of Argenteuil, where he was living, one of which Manet purchased.
Up until 1870 Sisley had been able to rely on the financial support of his father. This allowance ceased when his father lost his business during the Franco-Prussian war and in a reversal of the usual pattern was impoverished in his mature years rather than his youth.
In 1880 Sisley and his family moved to a small village close to the forest of Fontainebleau where the painters of the Barbizon school had worked earlier in the century, and it was the work he did on landscapes during this period that most defines his work. Sisley died in Moret-sur-Loing on January 29 1899.
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